Government of Western Australia State Coat of Arms
Children's Court of Western Australia
Government of Western Australia State Coat of Arms
Children's Court of Western Australia

First steps in Protection and Care Proceedings

The Department of Communities may investigate a child's parents for many reasons. This may include concerns about drug use, family violence and neglect.

The department will try to work with the family. They give the family support and help them deal with the concerns.

Sometimes the Department of Communities may decide to remove a child from their home. They take the child into provisional protection and care.

That is only done if they think the situation is too unsafe for a child to stay with their parents. Removing a child from their parents is the last resort.

The Department is then the temporary legal guardian for the child. That means they can make decisions about who the child lives with and spends time with.

There are two ways a child can be taken into provisional protection and care.

The Department of Communities can apply to the Children's Court for a warrant. The application for a warrant takes place without the parents being present.

If it is urgent the Department of Communities or a police officer can remove the child without a warrant. They can do that if a child is at "immediate and major risk".

Child placement

The Department of Communities will arrange a place for the child to live. They try to find a suitable family member who can look after the child until it is safe for them to return home.

Usually, proposed carers need to undergo a carer assessment. That is to make sure the child will be safe and well looked after.

If the child is unable to live with family, they should consider the following in order of priority:

  • Living with a person who is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander. The person should be from the child's community under local customary practice.
  • Living with a person who is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander. The person should live close to the child's community.
  • Living with a person who is or isn't an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander. The person should live close to the child's community. The person should also support the cultural needs of the child.
  • Living with a person who is not an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander. The person should support the cultural needs of the child.

Next step

Once the child is in provisional protection and care the department has two options:

  1. They make plans for the child to return to a safe situation at home within two days; or
  2. The department has to apply to the Childrens Court for a protection order. That means the child will not return home.

Last updated: 10 April 2024

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